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business? is there really any way a business can plan for this kind of thing? have you got some stories of businesses that have faced challenges that are different than you'd expect? >> well, i think there would be certainly all kinds of stories out there, senator, in terms of how businesses have responded. i think a key just in general that we have found many businesses were not adequately prepared for was the loss of information. ..
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>> no all of their health records at the end of the preceding month. so they were 22 days away from having completed the project, so that everybody who had health records at the hospital still has them but they were that close to not having them. and it's an interesting point that people whose records. accounts lost records as we'll. as a matter of fact, if you haven't lost your business, your account may have lost. so backing up and access. thank you, chairman. >> senator cochran, we are
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thrilled to have you today. >> mr. chairman, thank you very much for inviting us to join you and participate in this hearing. appreciate the opportunity working with you in the senate. i look forward to joining forces with you and trying to make sure we do everything we can here from the federal level to help restore these communities that have been so heavily damaged, and to continue plans for protecting this region that's so important economically in terms of people who reside in the region, from disasters such as we have seen recently. it's good to see mike womack again. every time i look out, i think we have had an accident or something that has happened, he said there. don't know what we would do without him. haley barbour relies on an closely and calls on him very
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regularly for his leadership and management skills. i'm glad you are here to provide some insight. these recent flooding was something that confirmed the fact that the mississippi river is huge, and we've invested a lot of money in protecting the adjoining landowners and people who live in the region from flooding of the mississippi river. and i don't want to sound like a joke but it looks like we may have overdone it, and that all the water now in this recent flood basically stayed in the mississippi river. that damages that were caused were backwater flooding. small streams, tributaries that lead into the mississippi river, but the prevention of main stem flooding kept the water within its banks of this historic, huge, terrible flood. do you have any comments to make
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about that? whether or not we got to go back to the drawing board and see what else we need to do now? >> i don't think the system is broken, but it serving needs a few modifications. there are flood control structures on the edge of basin, but they do not protect all of basin. there's no pumps that pump the water out that collects behind those flood structures. it's not just mississippi that has these problems to other states have as well. we were talking about much of their flooding was where the mississippi backed up to other rivers. so i think we do need to continue to look at what we could do to further protect those smaller streams such as the yazoo river and tributaries because you're right, a lot of the flooding did not occur on the mainline mississippi but on these smaller rivers that do have some limited flood control
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structures, but not enough to fully protect. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman, for having the hearing and inviting us to participate. >> and thank you for being here. senator mccaskill. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank you all for being here as senator blunt said we'd had a rough year in missouri. i know he and i share the opinion. we are both blessed to live in the state we love, but man oh, man has it been a rough year. and i'm interested to find out from you, mr. o'brian, whether you think that what fema provided in terms of really hooking you up, since there's no direct dollars for businesses, but hooking you up with other resources that fema was aware of it didn't feel more like a scavenger hunt, or was there a menu of available resources that you could draw upon immediately in the days after the disaster? >> senator, thank you.
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as a follow on to my response to senator blunt, we believe that there are a number of resources out there in the fema private sector side. part of their problem for business and for us, advocates for business, is that we really don't know what we sell. i think the best example of that is when you think about our community, when you think about the residents of the community, and the businesses and business owners in the community, there's a greater time and there where everyone is essentially in shock. everyone is working very hard to recover, but it is so overwhelming and there is so much information overload that goes on, that when we go to a business, we found very early on when we go to business and say what do you need, they would just shrug. they didn't know. they did not know exactly what they needed, or they would say i
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don't need anything, go help someone else, which is very typical in our community. but once you could put something forward and say here's some examples of resources we have available, then that started the thought process for them. and even if they did not need those resources, at least they were able to tell us more definitively what it was that they felt they needed at that point in time. i think this is some of the issue, again, we have with the private sector support with fema is that we know that wonderful resources there, and their team keeps asking us what do you need, and we're in much the same position. we are not sure what our businesses need. >> so you're saying what do you have? >> let's see a list. again, if it's a very basic and i took one of the things they have tried to do, is be in a busy to be creative again because every disaster is
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different. and be able to bring some different resources to the table. but i think there's also commonalities. and even a basic shopping list, if you will, of resources, even if they don't necessary for confidentiality say, the first pass want to divulge who the regional and national partners or, if they can say we can get you laptops, we can get you a structural engineer to come look at her building can get you, and just have a list of examples. that begins a process, and i think for us and our businesses to respond. >> yes one of those which comes first, the chicken or the egg. i'm sure from themis perspective if you go out and you put on the list we have three laptops, a lot of people ask for a laptop that may not need a laptop. on the other hand, they want to make sure they get laptops to businesses who do need them. i think there's probably -- i think you're right that there's a way that maybe we can work on
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a list like to unique business equipment quacks do you need, you know, engineering consulting? you need somebody, legal help? whatever. because i know, one of the problems we had is a great problem to have, but candidly when i was down there right afterwards, they would've down to the next time, there were so many people wanting to help, that i was offered like 14 bottles of water within five minutes when i write in java because people were stopping on the street and wanting to do something. i think a lot of the money and resources that float and. that's what the question i have for you. i know you started the business recovery fund and the joplin tomorrow fund, and we've just got a grant that senator blunt and i were able to announce and commerce that will help fund the regional and local coordinator for the business recovery effort. but i'm a little worried about all the money flowing in to help, and is a getting to the
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right place. and is accessible by the business community, or are there charities that have popped up saying that we are taking assistance for joplin that maybe isn't getting to joplin? uac problem that we need to be aware of that we could help with? >> well, first, thank you both, senators, for your support on those grants. we appreciate that. senator, i would say that whether it's joplin or cape girardeau or smithville, mississippi, or anyplace, there's always concern about the response, especially with dollars and are the dollars going to the right place. and we know there are some very strong national organizations that provide immediate response such as red cross that can be very beneficial. what we did in our community, and actually it was a group that was working with the schools on
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a website to encourage connection between the faith-based community, social services and business community to support the schools, was rerouted at website, and with dialogue, and dialogue amongst these entities, said for the long-term -- there are about six times we can all get behind. and as people would call we would try to direct them to the six funds on a website called rebuild joplin.org. along with a whole list of what people need and what people have to give as a way of coordinating that effort. but i think it is, to your question, very important, probably early in the process, to make sure that communities think about the long-term and think about the entities that they have or that they -- or that they may need to great such as these foundations, in order to bring dollars in and
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essentially have them in the bank for the future because people talk about returning to the status quo, sba, fema, insurance, my bank. the reality is there is no longer status quo spirit i think it's terrific. i'm very proud of the joplin community because of the way you did this. and as always, the best solutions are solutions that are done on a core databases at the local level rather than washington. i don't think anybody in joplin would argue that fema was very, very important to the joplin community and the federal agencies and the state agencies that came into help, but for the long haul i'm glad the solutions are being crafted at the local level. and thank you for being here and hope that i'll have time for other questions. i would love to get into others. >> thank you. let me go ahead and ask just one question in this round, this first round and then we will go to the second round. before i do, one of the things that made me proud of my state was we had lots of folks from
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the corridors of fort smith, fayetteville, bella vista, the whole corridor that just went right up to joplin to try to help. they probably were the folks in the water because they just wanted to do something. it was a neighbor in need and he did know what to do. sometimes it's organized by churches, sometimes spontaneous, folks on their own. but they went up there to help and we really appreciate y'all because y'all have helped us many times when we had our troubles. i know mr. maxwell and mr. masingill can testify to that. but mr. serino let me ask you a question if i can take a little bit broader view here. i hear stories, read stories in the paper that the disaster relief fund may be running out of money. and i'm curious to know if it's running out of money, what you anticipate for the rest of this fiscal year, and what we are going to do in the event it does run out of money. >> currently the disaster relief fund we have $1.24 billion in
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currently. we been able to act like it that somewhat stabilized over the last few weeks, few months actually. talking earlier about how we are able to go back and look at the obligating, the number of previous disasters. and by doing that we have been able to keep it somewhat level. is going down a bit obviously with the disasters we've been talking about across the country. and right now we are on pace, we love to win we may or may not get below a billion dollars. i would say, you know, the way we are projecting it is sometime between now and sometime possibly early august is where we are going. >> so what do you do, early august? do you have to come back to the congress? >> is necessary we could, but right now we look at, we do something in the passcode immediate needs funding which we did last year that i'm sure both dave and mike are from a with. if necessary we could do that,
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and that leaves the money in place for life safety, life-saving issues. that if something were to happen we would have the money to do that. we put on hold funding some of the other long-term projects that may be in place, construction of some public buildings, longer-term, some roads that are longer-term down the line, may put a hold on that. until a new budget comes through. so that's, we have done that in the past. we had to do that last year. if necessary when they go to that again. >> we the situation in our state where we had two counties that we thought should easily have qualified for disaster assistance, but they didn't. we have to go through an appeal process. i got asked a few times during that appeal process, which i guess was a couple of weeks, i got asked a couple of times about whether fema was not doing that because they were afraid
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they might run out of money with some of these other disasters. is that a factor in your consideration? >> not at all. that doesn't and it into at all, how much money is in the fun as to how much state or a county gets qualified, that doesn't enter into the equation for us at all. >> we will go to our second round. senator blunt. [inaudible] happens that both joplin in st. louis are both served by for-profit utility companies. mr. womack, i don't know if you are in this position during katrina or not, but we waved a provision for mississippi at least in katrina so that any utility company that had replaced the cost because of the disaster qualified for the same level of fema assistance. and my point on this always is,
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which was governor barbour well explained it at the time, everybody who is served by this particular company pays taxes just like the person who pays federal taxes that has a municipal utility or an associate electric co-op utility, who automatically qualified for reimbursement. but like the city of joplin, mr. o'brian, is all served by entire electric. i don't know if you've had discussions about this or not. i suspect you have. what do you see as the long-term impact on utilities in a community that their utility provider doesn't automatically, isn't allowed, frankly, we didn't change the law to allow it. isn't allowed to participate in the cost share for disaster recovery. >> senator, i think you have raised a good point with that, and the mississippi experience. our electric utility is locally
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headquartered and serves approximately 10,000 square miles in four states, most of that in southwest missouri. and certainly year in and year out they do anticipate that there will be some level of damage of storms. what they don't necessarily anticipate is in the f5 tornado that cuts to 40 miles of their service area. including some of the most densely bodily part of that. and their estimate in terms of the damage done is, today somewhere around 25 billion, it could go higher as they continue on that. and what that means for our community, and, frankly, for our surrounding neighbors who are served by empire, is since they do not fit in to the qualification standard act, they
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will have to be a rate increase on that. and that is the only means that they have to recover those dollars. and i think the element of that, we think about the long-term is that when you have a community like joplin, or any other community that is served by investor owned utilities that have had catastrophic disasters, you want them to recover, you want them to recover as quickly as they can. and if you place utilities in a position, just because they are investor owned utilities, where they eventually have to raise the rates and recoup that, essentially what your doing is making it harder for the residents and making it harder for the businesses that are still in operation, and you make it more difficult to attract new business investment in the community. and so instead of incenting recovery you have disincentive recovery by not allowing them to take part in that funding.
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>> do you remember the situation when it came up -- >> senator, i do, but it was not managed through my agency. it was not stafford act funding. as you said, it was -- it required a special act to allow a tax dollars to be able to help the for-profit utilities pics i don't have the details on it but i do know that it was in an effort to try to make sure that the rates that the two big providers in mississippi, and, of course, energy was heavily invested in louisiana as well. but i don't know the details on that but i do know. >> mr. mack so, have you had any experience with this kind of think? >> we have not. >> mr. serino, i'm going to the i am going to continue on this. chairman, i would love to talk to you about it and senator mccaskill and i have been talking about it. you know, if this community would've happened to have a
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municipal provider, let's say they paid 10% under the stafford act of the repair costs, they would be passing along to .5 million to the ratepayers instead of 25 million. court if they have a 75, 25 sure, they'll be passing along 6.2 the ratepayers instead of 25 million. those rate players pay federal taxes in exactly the same way that the neighboring community of carthage that has a municipal utility pays federal taxes. we have more experience with this with devastating i storms. we have miles and miles of polls broken off, and the mileage that is in the electric co-op, federal taxpayers can say we're going to help you keep your future rates low, or if it's a municipal utility, they say will help you keep your future rates low. but if it happens to be in a for-profit can we say you're going to go to the psc, or
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whatever you call the commission in any state, and you going to ask them and they will tell you yes, we may not be exact with the timeframe. but i think inevitably they let you pass this cost along to the taxpayer, the ratepayers who just happens to be served by a different kind of utility, and i think it's one of the great inequities in the way we look at this particular problem. and i just hope you'll think about it with me, too. and i know it's not something you can do right now, but i do think it's an area in the stafford act where we really could bring greater equity to people, neighbors who suffer the same kind of calamity. one of them at the end of the day winds up, in their business or home with a much higher utility rates and the other one did, just because of who provided their utility to them. and it's not, it's not that the
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for-profit absorbed that laws. the for-profit goes to the public service entity, whatever it is, and they inevitably say sure, you can pass those costs along to come as mr. o'brian pointed out, everybody happens to be served by your utility. in this case, you know, joplin is a big part of what that utility does as provide. >> thank you. senator cochran. before you ask i want to thank you, you and senator landrieu for signing on to my femur recruitment -- fema recoupment bill. spent i have no other questions,. >> guest: >> senator mccaskill. >> thanks. and i want to second senator blunt's conversation about the utility. but particularly worrisome to me, and i know it is to you, mr. o'brian is that if empire goes to psc and psc says yes, you can pass those along to your
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ratepayers, what does that do for your business recovery? if some is making up their mind whether they want to come to joplin or stay in joplin, and looking at huge investment come if they know at the end of that investment to rebuild and joplin or to come to joplin i don't think a lot of people realize that joplin is a mecca for that entire region, even though the population of joplin, table leg head down at night maybe around 50,000 people. there are over 200,000 people that traveled to joplin for school and for work and for shopping. and what would that do to that pakistan is if your utility rates were two or three times higher than surrounding communities, which you could envision happening with this? we will continue to work on this and hopefully make some progress on it. i want to ask about housing. i know that we've got 1500 people that are still on the list for housing in joplin or
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and i know that you all have done so much in missouri after the disasters. can you update the committee on the efforts for the 1500s that are still on the waiting list for housing? and what are the hangups two months is a longtime and what do we need to do to make sure we cleared that waiting list? >> one of the things we're doing is working as a state led housing task force. one thing we don't want to do is come in and safety the, tell job of this the housing need. we are working to see what their needs are and then what we can provide. we don't want to come in and say you need x, y and z. we want to make sure we are meeting their needs. that's probably one of the first thinker but a first things we do isn't look for rental assistance, was available for people to rent throughout the area. unfortunately, as you just said,
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joplin is sort of hub and a lot of people, there isn't a lot of rental assistance or even hosted by in the area, even prior to this happening. i think that's one of the challenges. on top of that, just seeing what's available throughout the area. one of the things we looked at was expedited debris removal we been doing and i think that has helped us, one of the first things we do a site for rental housing for the short term is also look at trying to put people back on their own property where they are at and looking to do that. getting the extra debris removal has helped us to look at that. also, working with the leaders in joplin and the state it, looking to see what else they need in the area. we've had our federal coordinating officer down in joplin working with them to determine what's the best way and having worked with the people to look at some of the best options for them. we've been working through a lot of those. >> what's the prospect for the 1500 people? i know, rumor was the chairman had a lot of trailers in
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arkansas. and joplin is not that far away. >> we've actually, i'll get the exact numbers of housing units we had in joplin now. in mississippi, there is 117 temporary housing units there now. looking to actually bring similar to the area as necessary, but we are bringing them in at the request of the state and the request of the city. >> should i talk to the state? >> the task force has been working together to get through the solutions we want to get to together. we don't want to come in and say we'll bring in 1500 trailers when that's not what they want. >> okay. i just want to make sure we take care of speeders and we're working on. >> senator, i might add we're plenty of rental property down in benton county. >> be careful. be careful. we don't want to turn any of these people into big fans. we want them to stay up on our side of the lines so we've got
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to be careful about having them come down to arkansas. let me ask you, mr. masingill, about the delta regional authority and birch point. we're working hard, the entire delegation has been reunited on all of these issues and we're particularly united about getting birch point rebuild. what are you hearing from where you sit about the rebuilding of the levy, and is there anything you want to share with committee about that situation and what the core is genuine how quickly how quickly can those farmers expect to be able to get back into production with the levy that is replaced? >> said, thank you for the question. as was continue to change. in fact, i would be leery to tell you, but i've heard estimates as big as $10 billion for total impact as it relates to our flood, senator cochran, along the mississippi, to
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anywhere, to the two-point billion in your neck of the woods as it related to the new madrid. one thing to keep in perspective is 44% of all the american water that flows, flows to the mississippi. 31 states are touched by the mighty mississippi in the course of this. it has a huge economic impact and it is an economic engine. it's a highway for commerce and business impact in the country. and, in fact, if i may touch all of it on that, that business perspective that we talked about earlier by mr. o'brian, you know, the key thing for us as an independent federal agency that tries to do economic developer in this part of the region, this is a real opportunity for us as federal government and stakeholders at the local and state levels to take some lessons learned from what we're seeing in joplin and that coordination and planning. in the midst of this terrible tragedy, we have a real opportunity to change the model.
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our national framework for response is effective and our counterparts are working hard every day to make sure these programs are in place and that we utilize the programs in a very efficient and effective manner. this is a real opportunity to change the model because the one thing from what we see from our perspective, the one real gap is that focus on business and industries in the time of a natural disaster. this collocating is an awesome idea. these business recovery team that on the ground, there are no mechanisms in place to really elevate that focus, to really put attention on creating mechanisms and resources, not new money, but existing money to put an emphasis on how do we respond and how do we deal with it. one quick example. in small, southwest arkansas, the planning and developing district is using current technologies, gis, to map every business in a multicounty fashion so we have an inventory
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of every businesses in that part of the state, senator pryor, that we know in the course of a natural disaster we've got the information. can you imagine what it would be like if joplin had the inventory where we could coordinate both at the local, state and federal level so we can make this kind of decision to we put an emphasis on sharing this information? sba does a good job, and our system works well for individual and public assistance. the one area we need to think about ways, no not in essentialy new money, but existing structure, particularly with our small business disaster, those are good but what we're doing is we're putting an emphasis and advocating for certain programs over another. depending on what the situation is or disaster is. what dna is advocating are trying to give attention to additional public awareness is how do we take something like the louisiana business and emergency operation center and expand in a way that fema could use that same type of structure or information to coordinate and integrate with small business
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administration when a disaster happens in the dr a region, can say we know you have 45 local development districts or cocks at whatever they may be called that has the ability to touch 3000 elected officials. with a delivery system that has been proven. to make sure we're utilizing all the local and state and federal resources and coordinate fashions as it relates to supporting rebuilding and making sure that our businesses or industries that are impacted. individual assistance is effective. it's there. it works for the most part. sodas public assistance for local counties and cities. the one thing that needs additional attention is the system in place to address our small businesses. we've seen that in this disaster as it relates to flooding. >> let me ask a few questions, if i may. and let me say that senator mccaskill is correct in that we did have a few multiple -- mobile homes and trailers.
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it was not team his finest hour when they did that. but nontheless, regardless of that, i do think that fema under director fugate has been doing a good job. what i've seen from my vantage point here is i've seen an agency that has been trying very, very hard to get it right, and i'm not saying they get it right 100% of the time, but i think they get it right many, many, many more times than they get it wrong. we appreciate that. let me ask, not so much fema but i do want to ask about the disaster declaration process. we had an experience in our state, david, you would have to help me, for five years ago where there was a really bad tornado. i don't think we ever got fema to do the declaration. we tried and tried and tried.
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it was frustrating because we could never get a real handle on what is the criteria, you know, who is saying no and why. it was difficult. so i'm curious to read the rest of the panel, to hear your perspective on that disaster declaration process. can we streamline it? can we make it more transparent or better in some way? i don't know if you firsthand experience with the. why don't we start with you and go on down the line. >> thank you, senator pryor. it's interesting you mentioned that snippet at the top are still working for governor beebe but i sat on the board on behalf of him with the other governors. one of the things we recognize turn the process, although we never received the declaration for several reasons and would try to mitigate as much as possible, david was leading the way and still does that today, a great job i might add. one of the things were able to do because the response framework that we had it not
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necessarily have structures in place, or programs in place to be as responsive to business and industry. we had the one plant that makes petfood that served almost two, 300 employees, that was going to relocate. but we were able to kabul state resources together, and also dra resources together to help them in that rebuild above and beyond what they already had the insurance for, but it was not a federal mechanism and our response structure to say look, this is an operation that employs almost 300 people that we party made investments in when they were in economic development project, trying to be recruited many, many years ago. we've had an investment, but the system in place did not allow for it to fit into the current structure. so you took a round, square peg in this place, trying to fit in a round hole in terms of our current system. so from our perspective luckily
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we had dra resource and we are able to use some state resources with governor beebe's leadership and we invested back into the industry to keep that up. the process currently does not allow that kind of flexibility. >> mr. mack so? >> thank you. i wish sent apology for this discussion because i think we will talk a little bit about the number of disasters and some of the implications there. arkansas really does ask for disasters from the president in less we think we have them. arkansas has our own individual assistance programs, our own public assistance programs for those that we feel are under the threshold for the criteria for presidential disaster. we want to take care of our own people as much as possible. i was surprised this year when we received the denial on the
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one request. and i frankly will take some of the blame for that. i think in our zeal to get assistance out to the people quickly, we may have gotten out too quickly to do the preliminary damage assessment and didn't show all of the damage, didn't see all of the damage. there was some key mutation problem. i should have known they didn't see all the damage, or we wouldn't have asked at that time. but anyway, you know, we eventually got it and we are very appreciative of the efforts that you, senator bozeman them and the entire delegation put in on that. it is, you know, it's the president's prerogative, and i really don't want to meddle in his business, but any -- we've had -- actually when administrator fugate was state director, he worked on a task
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force with fema looking at individual assistance criteria. and we thought we had agreement just about ready, and it fell apart. but, you know, i think that's one of the things, if we had some idea, if we have an idea of public assistance, if we had that same sort of idea on individual assistance, we could manage the expectations of citizens a little better. >> mr. womack. >> as transixteen, under public assistance there's a specific set of numeric indicators. we don't use of the term thresholds because they are not hard and fast. but generally speaking if you don't meet the state numeric indicators for local government does not meet those dollar amounts, then it's difficult to get a public assistance declaration. by the same token, if you just meet those thresholds, and it
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was not an overall heavy impact to the state, you still may not get the declaration. but the fact that there is a monetary amount that is tied to each county and tied to the state, it gives us a better method of determining whether or not we have a reasonable chance of getting a declaration. under individual assistance, dave and i have been involved in this for five years or more, talking about do we want standards based on the committee's population, based on the community's income, do we want specific standards that says if you have this level of damage to the county and the state has a level of damage, then you should reasonably expect to receive a declaration. or do we really want it where the president has a flexibly to make the decision, based on a number of factors. and that's currently what the stafford act says. it talks in terms of number of homes destroyed or major damage,
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but also talk about all these other factors. i would say that i would like to see more structure to it, but i would not like to see the structure be quite as defined as public assistance. if that helps. >> i think our only comment would be that we obviously had a disaster of great magnitude, and there was already existing disaster declaration in the state of missouri for the flooding. and so it was -- >> you can find the rest of this online at c-span.org. we leave now to take elected president obama. he is the keynote luncheon speaker today at the national council of the rossa annual conference in washington, d.c.. let ross is the largest hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the u.s. this is live coverage on c-span2.
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♪ >> ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. .. >> and the economy expected to be the top issues in this
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discussion as he addresses one of the largest hispanic civil rights organizations. this latino civil rights group the national council of la raza holding its annual conference here in washington, d.c. the group's leader says hispanics want to hear from obama on a range of issues on which he's yet to take action. some promises, she writes, in 2008 from his campaign to tackle immigration reform and some in the latino community have brought up criticism against him for failing to do so. we should be hearing from the president momentarily. you're watching live coverage here on c-span2. ♪
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[in the audible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> ladies and gentlemen welcome our president and ceo janet mogilla. [applause] [applause] >> good afternoon, everyone. it's my privilege to introduce our keynote speaker for today's luncheon. when barack obama -- when barack obama first arrived in washington as the newly elected junior senator from illinois, he said he wanted to get to know the latino community and its issues better. well, we hear this often but then he did something no senator had done before. he came to our nclr headquarters to meet with and learn from a group of national latino leaders. today marks only the third time that a sitting u.s. president
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has addressed the nclr conference and we are deeply honored to welcome him here. it is a testament to the growing importance of the latino community in this great nation and it's a hallmark to the obama presidency. while we may not always agree, hispanics do have a voice in the administration and the latino community does have the president's ear. from every cabinet department to the west wing of the white house, the u.s. embassies abroad and on the nation's highest court, latinos have a strong presence in the obama administratio administration. [applause] >> and president obama has set many key milestones. he appointed silva solis to
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serve as the first hispanic cabinet secretary. [applause] >> and, of course, people filled a long-held dream of our community and made history by appointing justice sonia sotomayor to the united states supreme court. [applause] >> the president has worked and enhanced with latino advocates to improve the well-being of latino children, reform the financial system so that it is fair and accessible to hispanic consumers. and give more latino families a real opportunity to get health insurance and access to health care. we know, mr. president, that you are well aware that there is still some unfinished business. too many americans including
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millions of latinos are still out of work. too many families are still at risk of losing their homes and virtually everyone in this room has been affected by our nation's broken immigration systems and the record number of deportation. most of us here know families and people living in fear including a brave dream act student from tennessee who is with us here today and facing imminent deportation. [applause] >> that is why we're so eager to hear from you about these and other issues. we have been working at nclr to address these challenges and the latino community pledges our continued commitment to move our nation forward. ladies and gentlemen, please
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join me in welcoming the 44th president of the united states of america, barack obama. [applause] >> thank you. thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you. thank you so much. what an extraordinary crowd. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you. please have a seat. [applause] >> it is good to be back with nclr. [applause] >> it is good see all of you. right off the bat, i should thank you because i have coached quite a few of your alumni to
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work in my administration. they're all doing outstanding work. my ambassador to the dominican republic, a latino serving in every part of my administration. [applause] >> we've got young people right out of college in the white house. we got the first latina cabinet secretary, hilda solis. [applause] >> so we couldn't be prouder of the work that so many folks who have been engaged with la raza before, the handiwork that they're doing with our administration and as janet mentioned, obviously, we're extraordinarily proud of someone who's doing outstanding work on the supreme court, sonia sotomayor. [applause] >> now, recently, hundreds of latino officials from across government met with latino
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leaders from across the country at the white house. and i know some of you were there. and i think all who attended would agree that we weren't just paying lip service to the community. our work together, not just that day, but every day, has been more than just talk. but i told the gathering at the white house was, we need your voice. your country needs you. our american family will only be as strong as our growing latino community. [applause] >> and so we're going to take these conversations on the road and keep working with you because for more than four decades, nclr has fought for opportunities, for latinos from city centers to farm fields. that fight for opportunity, the opportunity to get a decent
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education, the opportunity to find a good job, the opportunity to make of our lives what we will has never been more important than it is today. we're still climbing out of a vicious recession. that recession hit latino families especially hard. i don't need to tell you, latino unemployment is painfully high. there's no doubt that this economy has not recovered as fast as it needs to. the truth is, it's going to need to take more time. a lot of the problems we face right now, like slow job growth, stagnant wages, these were problems that were there before the recession hit. challenges weren't caused overnight and they're not going to be solved overnight but that only makes our work more urgent, to get this economy going and make sure opportunities are spreading. to make sure everyone who wants a job can find one.
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and to make sure that paychecks can actually cover the bills. make sure families don't have to choose between growing groceries or buying medicine. they don't have to choose between sending their kids to college or being able to retire. my number 1 priority every single day is to figure out how we can get businesses to hire and create jobs with decent wages. in the short term, there's some things we can do right away. i want to extend tax relief, that we already put in place for middle class families. to make sure folks have more money in their paychecks. i want to cut red tape that keeps entrepreneurs turning new ideas into thriving businesses. i want to sign trade deals so our businesses can sell more goods, made in america to the rest of the world especially to america. the hundreds of thousands of construction workers, many of them latino, who lost their jobs
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when the housing bubble burst i want to put them back to work rebuilding our bridges, schools all across the country. [applause] >> there's work to be done. these workers are ready to do it. [applause] >> the bipartisan proposals for all of these jobs measures would already be lost if congress would just send them to my desk. and i'd appreciate it if you all would help me convince them to do it. we need to get it done. [applause] >> we need to get it done. [applause] >> the other debate in washington that we're having is one that's going to have a direct impact on every american. every day, nclr and your affiliates here from families figuring out how to stretch every dollar a little bit
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further. what sacrifices they've got to make. how they're going to budget only what's truly important. but they should expect the same thing from washington. neither party is blameless for the decisions that led to our debt. but both parties have a responsibility to come together and solve the problem and make sure that the american people aren't hurt on this issue. [applause] >> because -- i want to talk about this for a second because it has a potential impact on everybody here. and all the communities that you serve. if we don't address the debt that's already on our national credit card, it will leave us unable to invest in things like education, protect vital programs. so i've already said i'm willing to cut spending that we don't need by historic amounts and reduce our long-term debt and
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invest in our children's future. i'm willing to take on the rising cost of health care program like medicare and medicaid, make sure they're strong and secure for future generations. but we can't impose our deficits by cutting spending. na[inaudible] >> we're having some problems with the video coming to us from here in washington, d.c. we're bringing you coverage of the president's comments at a conference, the annual conference of the la raza council, and we'll be working to fix the problem and bring it back to you as soon as we can.
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[no audio] >> we take you back now to that conference with the president. [applause] >> before we stop funding energy research, we should ask oil companies and corporate jet owners to give up special tax breaks that other folks don't get. [applause] >> before we ask college students to pay more to go to negligence we should ask hennepin county managers to stop paying taxes that are lower in terms of rates than their secretaries. before we ask seniors to pay more for medicare. we should ask people like me to give up tax breaks that we don't --
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[inaudible] [applause] >> are we also have a nation that asks only the middle class and the poor to bear the burden? after they've seen their jobs disappear and their incomes decline over a decade? are we also have a people who break the promises we've made to seniors or the disabled and leave them to fend for themselves? that's not who we are. we are better than that. for a people who look out for one another. for a people who believe in shared sacrifice 'cause we know that we rise or fall as one nation. for a people who will do whatever it takes to make sure our children have the same chances and the same opportunities that our parents gave us, not just the same chances, better chances.
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[no audio] >> we are having continued problems with this video coming to us from the president's speech. he is gathering -- he's addressing a gathering of the national council of la raza. we're going to work to fix this problem, bring you coverage as soon as we can. [no audio] >> we've lost the video from the president's speech and we'll do what we can to fix it but in the meantime let's take a look at this morning's "washington journal." >> host: david walker joins us from new york city. he's the former u.s. comptroller
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general and now founder and ceo of the come back america foundation. good morning. >> guest: good to be with you, libby. >> host: thank you. you have said that it's a bad idea for congress and the president to flirt so to speak with this august 2nd deadline of hitting the possible debt default. what do you think is going on right now and are you concerned that there's not a deal in place yet? >> guest: well, i am concerned, but if everybody is true to their word, by that i mean, the congressional leaders of both parties and the house and the senate and the president and i think they'll reach a deal in the house and senate. they have made a commitment to the american people that they will default. they are coming down to, you know, the 11th hour which i think is inappropriate but nonetheless typical for washington and they're trying to get as good a deal as they can. the democrats are trying to get as good of deal as they can. republicans. but if they don't reach a deal, then they should all be held accountable because it is
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irresponsible not to raise the debt ceiling limit at the same time, we need to attach some tough conditions to it to get our finances in order. >> host: have there been any thought economically about the fact that a deal hasn't been reached? have we felt the impact at all? >> guest: well, you heard, obviously, from some of your callers who called in before this segment that they already started to adjust their behavior. if enough people start to do that then it could have an economic impact. i think the markets have not reacted to any significant extent yet because they believe that our elected officials are going to -- are going to deliver on their commitment, that there will be a deal. it's just a matter of what it is. here's the key, it's not just a matter of raising the debt ceiling limit it's that they do something meaningly to demonstrate to the credit rating agencies, our foreign lendsers and the american people that they are going to start getting our finances in order because they are out of control so far. >> host: i'm going to read from
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an, a news piece that we found online that says, you know, there are some republicans people that armageddon consequences will come to pass. saying they're not afraid of it. as representative allen west and from jordan a republican of ohio it's not like the world ends on august 2nd. what is your interpretation of this message? they're not alone in saying that? other house republicans have echoed the opinion that there's nothing to be concerned about. what's your message to them? >> guest: the truth is, nobody knows for sure what will happen if the largest economy on earth, the world's temporary sole superpower, the country that has over 60% of the world's global reserve currency all of a sudden has a technical default and has to decide which bills it's going to pay and which bills it's not going to pay. nobody knows. but the fact is, those kinds of statements are totally irresponsible. why in the world would you want
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to play with a tactical nuclear weapon. that's what we're dealing with. we don't know what will happen if it goes off. at least we experiment with real nuclear weapons but we experimented with this. >> host: david walker is our guest a former u.s. comptroller general and he's the ceo of the come back america initiative. here's the phone numbers to call to join the conversation. experime and remember if you manage to get through on the phones, please turn down your tv. we have a delay. if you don't turn down your tv then we'll probably lose you pretty fast. so let's go back to our guest, david walker. what is your -- what is the scenario that you would like to see happen over the next couple weeks? you have laid out some possible ideas, some solutions to this situation, but what would you ideally like to see happen and
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then we'll get into what actually -- >> we take you live now to a press conference being held by democrats in the house. you're watching live on c-span2. >> is everybody ready? i think everybody is gathered here. thank you for joining us this afternoon. we've now seen more than 200 days of republican control here in the house of representatives, without a jobs agenda. every weekend that we go home and travel back to our respective districts, what's uppermost of the minds of the citizens we are sworn to serve is job creation. what do they see down here? what they see is ongoing fear. a fear, quite frankly, that doesn't need to be. we commend the president of the united states for continually reaching out to the other side
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and trying to get them to come to a compromise. at each and every turn, they simply have said no. we continue to focus on what we believe the american people desire and that's to put them back to work. we can't continue down this path. where not only the world's economy, the national economy but the household economies of every american is being held hostage by the republican majority. it's time to pass the debt ceiling, do a clean debt ceiling and move on and deal with the attended issues as they relate to, as we have worked on here in our caucus, as we presented time and again, the cuts that are necessary to deal with our debt.
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but let us be clear about this, 18 times under ronald reagan and 8 times -- a clean debt ceiling without any complications. yes there were political differences and they were sorted through. but what's really on american's minds is putting them back to work. it can be said no better than what a constituent said to me in a letter, how can you not agree that this is comparable to a natural disaster when individuals' lives are at stake, it's as if you have left us to be swallowed by an abyss of dark uncertainty. let's end the abyss of dark uncertainty. let's pass the debt ceiling but more importantly, let's put americans back to work. let's follow the lead of steny
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hoyer in making it in america in a jobs surrounded around innovation, outinnovate the rest of the world, outbuild the rest of the world and out-katy -- outeducate the rest of the world and how do we do that, by outinnovating here. >> i'm pleased to join the chairman of the democratic caucus in focusing on jobs. the last election americans were very concerned. they expressed that concern at the polls. and what they said is, congress, pay attention to jobs and pay attention to the fiscal stability of our country. as the chairman of the caucus said, we've now been here for seven months under republican leadership. what we have seen is fiscal
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irresponsibility and that is consistent what the american people said to us. it's repeatedly been said uncertaintily and confidence is absolutely essential if we were going to grow jobs. not only do they have no jobs agenda but what they have done is undermined the very thing they talked about as we see a nation roiled by concern that the congress of the united states under republican leadership and very frankly republican intransients in the united states senate refusing to come together and make a compromise to get our finances in order; make sure that america does not default on its debts; make sure that consumer loans do not go up; that 401k retirement plans do not go down.
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make sure that credit cards will still be useable. make sure that the dollar in everybody's pocket is worth what it is today and does not become devalued because of our inability to meet our responsibilities to america. the chairman talked about a make it in america agenda. about outbuilding, outeducating and outinnovating the rest of the world. we know we are in a tough competition. what we have seen over the last month of walkouts by republican leaders on responsible compromise has undermined our ability to compete with the rest of the world. and has undermined the world's confidence in america. the public, the citizens, the voters, whether they be young or old, working americans, and, yes, investing americans are
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extremely roiled by the failures of the republican leadership of the house of representatives to come to grips with creating jobs, realizing fiscal responsibility. we have offered a make it in america agenda. we're going to make it in america if we have sound finances, job-focused legislation and a sense in america that we are coming together, that we can be adults and move this country forward. i'm hopeful that we do that. we democrats are going to be focused on both, fiscal responsibility, bringing our debt down, bringing our deficit down and creating jobs with a make it in america agenda. i'm now pleased to yield to -- yield to my very close, dear friend from south carolina, the assistant leader of the house of representatives, jim clyburn of
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south carolina. >> thank you very much, steny. and thanks to my colleagues for being here today. i just rushed in here from the airport. i just came in from south carolina, where last week we saw unemployment pick up to 10.5%. three of the congressional districts i represent have unemployment over 20%. one of them at 25%. those are depression numbers. people are very, very unnerved as we speak. >> they are looking to us for leadership. they want some certainty in their lives, and they are reading headlines, one of which two days ago indicated if we failed to lift the debt ceiling,
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not only would it be a catastrophic for us here as a nation, but the state of south carolina will be one of five states, another one being oregon, will see a down grading in their credit rating. in fact, we have an infrastructure back in south carolina. it means that the bonds that are required to fund that infrastructure back and create jobs at the levels of our community levels, we will see the cost of those bonds going up. so i come today to join with my colleagues in saying to my friends on the republican side, it is time for us to find common
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ground. we have competing proposals from democrats in the senate, republicans in the house. it is time for us to find some proposals and find common ground and let's restore stability in the lives of our citizens. and with that, i'm pleased to call to the microphone and great friend and classmate javier bashira. >> each and every one of my colleagues here today say that we recognize that the biggest deficit this country faces is a jobs deficit. and the sooner we put americans back to work, and thereby paying taxes, the quicker we get this economy going. the president knew this very well. the month he was sworn into office and given the keys to the
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white house by george bush, 790,000 americans lost their jobs. and so we all got busy. the president, working with democrats in congress, passed an economic recovery package which created to help americans stay in their jobs to the tune of 2.5 million americans. and in 2010 we started to see americans going back to work. a quarter of a million americans started to go back to work on a monthly basis. but then we started to see the gamesmanship being played here in washington, d.c. and guess what? the economy started to slow down and today what we're seeing that gamesmanship has its consequences. we want to get past this issue of america paying its bills. never before has this country failed to pay its bills. but the real consequences of this gamesmanship is the jobs
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that will not be produced because the markets won't have the confidence to go out there and produce that extra product. they won't have the confidence to go out and manufacture the goods that americans make so well and so what we're here to say is that it's time to stop the gamesmanship. it's time to put americans back to work. and, therefore, it is time for our republican colleagues to stop leaving the negotiating table and do what every american must do when they sit at the kitchen table and make those tough decisions. let's do them together, let's do them bipartisanly but there's no reason for americans to lose jobs because we're playing politics with the issue. democrats and republicans not leave the table and reach a solid agreement on behalf of the american public. with that let me turn it over to a woman who has been a leader in the democratic caucus on our jobs task force for quite some time, really articulating well what americans want to see and
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that is congresswoman betty sutton from ho. -- ohio. >> thank you very much. here we are 200 days in the republican-led cross and still no plan to create jobs in america. why is that? well, that's because they've been busy. they've been busy for creating tax breaks for the corporations and the super rich. they've been busy cutting medicare and medicaid and they've been busy in creating energy efficient light bulbs but we've been busy too. busy focusing on what the american people need, priority number 1, making sure that there are secure and solid jobs out there for the american people to work. that is where our priorities must lie. those of us who have been busy working to create jobs in manufacturing -- we know that it's important that this is a country that makes things, that takes something of lesser value and turns it into something of
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greater value, creating real value for our country. strengthening our economy, strengthening our national security and delivering to the american people what this country stands for. we've been busy standing up for small business owners and fighting for commonsense ways to address our fiscal problems. as you've heard up here today, we understand that it's so critically important that americans have the opportunity to work that that is a key to solving our long-term deficit problem. so here we are today to invite once again our republican colleagues to join us and to answer the call of that sign that says we want jobs. we want jobs. that's what the people i represent want. and that's what we on the stage here today are here to call for. join with us, help us solve the challenges that face us as a country. help us put america back to
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work. and with that i want to introduce to you and call to the mic a leader of our committee a man fighting the fight, representative chris van holland. >> thank you. thank you, betty, for all your leadership and my colleagues. look, the american people deserve better than they're seeing. as my colleagues have said, we've been months now in a republican-controlled congress and have seen zero legislation on creating new jobs. but it's even worse than that because what they're doing right now not only doesn't create new jobs, it threatens to put millions of jobs at risk. and it also threatens the financial system of the united states as we see us count down to august 2nd with the republicans taking the position that unless they get things 100% their way, they would prevent the country from paying its
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bills. no american family can choose to wake up one morning and not pay their bills and yet that is the position they're taking if they don't get their way. and the latest proposal they've got is, well, as bad as things are and as much uncertainty as there is today, let's just lift the debt ceiling till about december or january. so let's put the country six months from now in exactly the same precarious position it is right now. and the american people need to understand, that's a choice. they don't have to make that choice. they don't have to choose to put the country's economy in the same uncertain position just six months ago. they want to do that in order to extract confessions to get things 100% their way. so i think it's really important that the american people watch very carefully what they're proposing to govern is to choose and they continue to choose to try to balance the -- sign a deal with the deficit. only by cutting deeply into things like education, medicare,
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medicaid and at the same time, protecting tax cuts for special interests and for the folks at the very top. that's our choice. that's their choice. our choice is very different. let's not cut transportation funding by 35%, which is what their bill will do when you have 20% cut in construction industry. i'm pleased my colleagues are here. betty sutton, the vice chairman, thank you for coming together to put together a jobs agenda and show the clear differences between what the two parties are proposing. with that, i want to introduce someone who has been a great champion to working people, george miller, a ranking member of the -- well, another champion of working people and kids rosa delora. >> thank you very much. i'm delighted to be with my colleagues today. and we don't need to be
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repetitive over and over again and we need to talk about what nation is doing. and it's represented by us that we, in fact, pass a job-creating legislation in this institution instead of being mired in political games. and it isn't because the democrats haven't been without ideas on creating jobs. we have a democratic agenda under the umbrella of making it in america and i'm just going to talk a second about a piece of legislation that i've championed for a long time, a national infrastructure and my colleague has been talking from south carolina is doing. europeans are doing this. the asians are doing this. china is spending 9% of its gross domestic product on rebuilding. india 5%. united states 2%. what we need to do in order to create jobs here is to create a national infrastructure bank
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that, in fact, leverages private capital towards public investment. a concept that has broad bipartisan support. it could help us close the 2.2 trillion gap that we need to restore roads, bridges, water systems, energy grids, telecommunication. allow us to build that 21st century infrastructure. create jobs, jobs that can't be outsourced. create them all over america. help them develop the technology for the future, putting us on that cutting edge of technology once again. these will be good jobs, well-paying jobs. so one more time that we can build in this nation. we are a nation that consumes today. we don't build. we consume from other countries. let's take this -- the bull by the horns here. let's introduce legislation, while american families are struggling today, we don't have the luxury for political gains. we need to get
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employment-expanding legislation now. investment in our future and that will create the jobs and that we'll rebuild america. and with that let me introduce my colleague, emanuel cleaver. >> jobs, let me now introduce the man who never waivers from the progressive caucus. [laughter] >> let me follow that, thank you very much. progressive caucus has been up to now a five-city tour. where we have invited the local communities to come and talk to us about jobs and about what they see the american dream being and how it needs to be rebuilt. these are heart-wrenching, very serious, anguished discussions with the part of the unemployed, the underemployed, and those
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people that are looking for work and can't find it. i would suggest to my colleagues -- the republican colleagues that they need to listen to the american people. they need to have a jobs agenda. they need to look carefully as they slash these budgets what it means, for example, 100 billion cuts from medicaid. it translates them from 800,000 to a million jobs. so as we go forward, the jobs agenda has to be number 1. the way to get out of this deficit issue, the way to begin to deal with the debt is to put americans to work so they can help us dig ourselves out. thank you and let me now introduce the chairwoman of -- [inaudible] >> national unemployment is at 9.3%, but for pacific islanders 13%. asian-americans stay unemployed
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longer than any other american group. jobs growth should be congress's top priority and they aren't getting the message. they passed 81 bills and how many of those have created jobs? zero. in 200 days -- in fact, they tried to put 2 million americans out of work. and now with the default negotiations, they are holding america's economy and the american people hostage to their agenda of tax cuts for the rich and loopholes that help corporations. we need house leaders looking out for the american people and creating jobs, not cutting them. we need strong house leaders who will truly do something about the economy, not just promote corporate interests and the rich. and now i have the pleasure of introducing my esteemed colleague the chair of the new democrats. >> thank you very much. i'm very pleased to be here today. joining my colleagues of the leadership of the house
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democratic caucus. many of you may remember 100 days ago today, i stood on the floor and gave what we believed is the first speech's speech and that was in reaction to the lack of any jobs bill in the first 100 days of congress. today i have no tabulated poster board to tear away. and i'm still speechless, more importantly today, i am dumbfounded. i'm dumbfounded we are 200 days into this congress and we have not had a single bill on the floor that would create a single job in this country. my question today is, mr. speaker, where is the jobs bill? your caucus friend on creating jobs and yet not one single bill in 200 days of congress to create a single job in this country. i hear the american people asking for jobs loud and clear. i hear it in my district. i hear it in washington.
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i hear it across this country. my colleagues behind me are hearing it from the american people. they are asking for jobs. good jobs, jobs that pay well with pensions. as the chair of the new democratic coalition, we believe in innovation. we believe in investing in our infrastructure. we believe in investing in education. and we believe in making it in america. we call upon our colleagues on the republican side of the aisle not to lead us to the brink of disaster. we simply cannot stand by and see what happens if we don't pass a debt ceiling increase. i don't want to be around to see what might happen. we in government shouldn't be playing those kinds of games. we should be getting down to doing the business the people have sent us here to do. and that is get past this debt ceiling and start focusing on putting americans back to work. and with that, i'd like to
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introduce my good friend from new mexico. >> thank you, joe. you know, lots been said already. but it's so sad after 200 days we still have yet to see any commitments from our republican colleagues to job creation, any notion of what we can do to embrace what america has always done well, innovation. making sure that we continue to invent things that we manufacture. that we commercialize. coming from a state with national laboratories where the greatest research takes place. we just can't believe our republican colleagues continue to slash and burn r & d budgets, abandoning the notion that we can close these loopholes that incentivize companies from america to take jobs out of the country and build things out of this great nation out of ours rather than closing those and incentivizing those very companies to come back to the country to build things in america, make it in america, make it all over this great
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nation of ours and put people back to work. people all across new mexico and america, with unemployment hitting hispanics, native americans, leaving people behind. it's time to wake up, our republican colleagues. listen to the american people and let's make sure we get some job creation packages moving. it's already been 200 days. it's gone long enough. let's make sure we're doing what we can and get people back to work. >> all of our speakers have spoken but i would defer to my colleague -- i'm deferring to my colleagues who weren't on the least who would like to speak. >> first of all, i want to thank chairman lawson for organizing this and recognizing as all democrats do that this is a three-legged stool to answer and respond to your challenges. we need revenues. we need to cut our expenditures and we need to cut jobs and yet we've been here 200 days, yet not one jobs program or jobs idea have gone to the floor of
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congress. instead of giving incentives and tax breaks to companies to move jobs overseas, we should be giving tax breaks and incentives to companies who bring jobs back or grow jobs here in america. we need to solve and find common ground on this debt crisis situation because it's causing insecurity. it's causing a lack of moving forward with businesses. if you were a business and you didn't know whether or not they were going to raise -- raise the debt ceiling or not, you wouldn't go out and be hiring people. you wouldn't be growing your business. we need to find common ground, make a decision, avoid default and start thinking about the future, investing in the future in innovation, transportation, and education. we need to solve this and move forward. the republican idea of having a series of default votes is just plain wrong and it will hinder
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or already fragile economy. we need to invest in the future. we need to solve this default crisis and make jobs and jobs creation that the american people are our number 1 priority. thank you. >> thank you very much, mrs. chairman. i'm very pleased to stand with those in the democratic leadership and members that believe in representing the people. and i want to thank chairman lawson and all of the democratic leadership. i want to thank president obama and chief of staff daley for being on the phone, talking to our market leaders to ensure and to assure them that we are going to get this happening and make it right. we all want no defaults but i want you to look at this party the democrats over the party of the vulnerable. and that's why we're talking about helping working americans, middle class working americans. we're talking about helping the vulnerable.
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protecting medicare, social security and medicaid and i would simply say go get a clock and be reminded of the gap in decisions on the bush bailout that we were required to do to save our financial stability about two, three years ago. just imagine on august 2nd when no adult shows up and the hard-working americans' 401k begins to lose first a trillion dollars then 2 trillion and it keeps going up and up and up. that is why we're standing in the gap, calling upon every leadership member of our esteemed colleagues, don't walk out of any other meetings. we're adults and let us fix this problem and if anyone doesn't understand why we don't need to move on short term, watch that clock come up in april or march and another trillions goes because we're in this debate
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again. most americans don't know about the debt ceiling but they know about the loss of jobs. the lack of interest rates that they can tolerate and they know about their families not being able to survive. this is what we're standing here for today. and i'm glad to stand with my colleagues supporting jobs and protecting the most vulnerable american americans. >> you've heard from our leadership and a number of our leaders from our perspective caucuses within the democratic caucus and the bottom line is this, we cannot default on the american economy and we shouldn't be defaulting on american jobs. we should be creating american jobs and that's what the business on this floor and meetings that should be taking place should be focused on job creation. with that, although time has run out. it expired on the clock. we'll take a couple of questions. yes, ma'am. >> as you said there's been many
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reasons for raising the debt ceiling 18 for reagan. i mean, is this going to simply be the only motivation to be political to get you to the next election cycle? >> it's hardly political at all. as i said in my opening comments. when i go home and people ask me -- the lady that said to me that she feels that she's in the dark abyss of uncertainty have very little to do with politics and everything to do with the situation she is currently in. and so this is a manufacturing crisis where the debt ceiling has been lifted for president reagan, for president bush, for president clinton is being held hostage to a republican ideological agenda saying, no, we want these deep cuts in social security and medicare and
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in other programs because of the problems that we have had ourselves in with the debt. we acknowledge with the fact that there are problems that exist with the national debt. but we further say why are you putting it at the feet of the american people and the core programs that they come to depend upon in these difficult times as well as create the kind of anxiety that exists around the globe, in this nation and now adding that to the household concerns that every single american now is having a discussion over as the republicans play high feeder and beat the clock here in washington? this isn't texas holdem. this isn't some kind of poker game. this is real in terms of people in what happens in their lives. 2008 wasn't that long ago, when people saw their 401ks become
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101ks, this is real. >> mr. larson? >> yes, >> right now it looks like the republicans will put forward a plan that will be voted on a wednesday that has a two-step solution that involves possibly a bipartisan commission to figure out the -- >> how does that get the lady out of the abyss of dark uncertainty? if the clock is only extended -- if the problems is only kicked down the road. if the cloud still hangs over the american public's head and there's machinations where more people walk away from the table from so they can continue the high feeder in drama? . the democrats stand united in the fact that everybody need to be an adult in the room and do what was done for every single other american president. the nation has never defaulted on its loans and that's why
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congress came together along with presidents, whether it was president reagan and tip o'neill they came together because they knew what was at stake for the american people. >> how did they all vote for the two-step plan? >> we have take a look -- we don't know -- you know, it's the plan du jour. but what we do know is this, our colleague carolyn malonely left but i think she said the other day that the republicans walked out on the vice president. they walked away from mcconnell and reid. they walked away from the gang of 6. they've walked away from the president not once but now twice and i think she concluded by saying if barack obama comes up with a cure for cancer, they might walk away from that as well. that's the leader and that's where the politics are being played. we're saying put the politics aside. you want to sit down and seriously discuss the deficit, which there were an awful lot of ground that was made. but every time they say a lot of ground was made, we have a grand plan, we have a small plan,
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they've walked away. it doesn't give a great deal of confidence that we'd like to see them come up with their proposal and certainly we think it should be -- at least i feel personally should be a clean vote and move on to the other issues. >> have you seen the reid plan, 2.7 trillion in revenue. >> i have not. i would imagine that plan and we are having a caucus this evening in which we hope that we'll be able to take a look at both those plans, both the reid plan and also what the republicans are proposing, but our understanding, just based on the core principles that nancy pelosi and steny and jim clyburn before and chris van hollen that it does not include ending the benefits of medicare and medicaid and so from that standpoint it's something that democrats have always been solid behind. yes, sir. >> except the fact that it
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doesn't add any revenues to fixing the problem? >> we'd like to see -- you know, if you're going to have a balanced approach, of course, we'd like to see revenues. if we're going to, in fact, rebuild the country, there's no economist that we know of on either side that hasn't said you're going to have to raise these revenues. now, what i think has been politicized is that the president hasn't said we have to do that tomorrow recognizing the very fragile nature of our recovery here, but they're going to have to be included in any kind of balanced plan, that is just untenable. javier, did you want to -- [inaudible] >> well, now we're going to miss the second vote. thank you very much. [inaudible conversations] >> both chambers are working on proposals to deal with the debt and deficit. the senate will outline its plan
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with majority leader harry reid and new york's chuck schumer at 2:30 eastern time streaming live on c-span.org and house republicans could make remarks this afternoon as well. they're set to meet at 2:00 eastern. they do hold any press briefings, we'll bring those to you on the c-span networks. also just want to mention earlier we were trying to bring you remarks from president obama at the national council of la raza. we had some problems with that video but we'll be able to bring you his remarks in their entirety at the c-span video library which you can check out any time. we go now to get another take on the debt and deficit with former u.s. comptroller general david walker. >> guest: dealing with texas that's grover norquist's group. interestingly we can achieve comprehensive tax reform that will end up generating more revenue as part of broadening the base, lowering rates that will generate more revenues and not violate that pledge. but we can't do that before the 2012 election so what's going to happen we'll have to reach an agreement to increase the debt ceiling limit, hopefully enough
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to get us past the 2012 election because we don't want to be dealing with this again in exchange for specific commitments for spending cuts that will equal or exceed that. we'll get at least a trillion dollars of defense over the next 10 years. we can get at least a trillion dollars out of health care and we can get at least a trillion dollars out of other expenses including interest expense and lots offys in restoring the fiscal insanity report. ultimately we're going to need more revenues. but those revenues are going to come as part of comprehensive tax reform and realistically that's not going to happen until after the 2012 election. >> host: coming to us from twitter, do you believe more spending should be cut and how much? please be specific. >> guest: in the comeback america's initiative fiscal frameworks we do talk about drawing down forces in southwest asia to 45,000 by the end of 2014 under a preemptive scenario
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but if we'll have a debt crisis we have to draw it down faster. we can save a lot of money through reducing our presence in southwest asia but, quite frankly, the pentagon has become a bloated bureaucracy. it's got tremendous amount of overhead and there are a number of other ideas in there that would allow us to be able to cut tremendous sums from defense without compromising national security. >> host: let's go to the fonz, samantha is calling frus raleigh, north carolina. the republican line. good morning, how are you. >> caller: great. i would love everyone to go out by read the book ayn rand and it's depicting what you see see. if you see penalizing the producers we're the runs providing the people with jobs and keep moving this people forward. you keep penalizing the producers there's not going to be any more money to do anything with.
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i mean, people are not going to be able to provide to get food to anything. i mean, people that are not producing, having their hand out and if you keep giving it to those and keep penalizing the producers, then the producers are going to end out with their hand out because they're going to be stricken with their hands tied. >> let me come back if i can. first, i'm familiar with the book and it's been read by millions of people. and it is a very interesting book. but i guess here's the issue. let's touch on the tax aspects of this. right now 51% of americans do not pay any income taxes. they pay payroll taxes. the problem is that those payroll taxes are not adequate to fund medicare, social security, the programs they're earmarked for. you cannot have in a democracy a majority of americans and growing not contribute to the constitutional roles of federal government so that's one thing that has to happen through tax reform. on the other side of the coin,
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the top marginal tax rate is 35% and the median tax rate is 18.8%. that's how warren buffett's secretary ends up paying more higher to effective tax rate to warren because warren's income comes primarily through capital gains which is taxed at 15% so in this report, the restoring fiscal sanity report we talk about how to engage in comprehensive tax reform that will improve economic growth and enhance our competitive posture, make sure that everybody is contributing a fair share but generate more revenues. and that's very important. by the way, it would not violate apr's tax pledge although i believe that such pledges to special interests groups are totally inappropriate and should be rescinded and rejected. >> host: let's look at this report, comeback america restoring fiscal insanity. it comes from the comeback initiative which david walker and president and ceo. without reforms by 2012, future
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revenues will only cover social security, medicare and medicaid and the interest on the debt by the year 2046, revenues won't even cover interest costs and we can see here last year and in the 2022 and then in 46 you can see the timeline out there and where the revenue is and all the things that have to be spent for and that money is allocated to. let's go to a comment on twitter. if we had a downgrade would it really be that bad? one of our followers asked. it would only be downgraded to a aa rating that's still a pretty big bond rating in my book. what do you think, mr. walker? >> >> guest: we would have to say higher interest rates. the question how much higher would they be? let me give you a sense. you just saw that graphic that shows under our present path based upon historical levels of revenue, about 18.2% of the economy, the only thing that we would be able to pay for in 2046 is our interest and that's
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without a significant interest interest rates. we have historically low interest rates but that could change very dramatically if our credit rating changes. for every 100 basis points it's 150 billion in interest and what do you get for that 150 million as we say in the south, shinola, nothing >> host: good morning. >> guest: -- >> caller: good morning. greed, greed, greed all the deregulations have allowed the rich -- the rich and the powerful to get richer. the rich and the powerful are hell bent to destroy this country because of fear of losing their money. we should raise their taxes on the rich. i'm paying taxes big time all my life. now the thing is, i am so upset with the ignorance with the
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calls that come in and it's devastating to say that the rich are helping the poor to get jobs is absolutely ludicrous. i am so upset because there's a goal to tear down the little guy, of course, and then, of course, the goal is to destroy obama which is unspeakable. the middle class and the poor are suffering. and all because of money, money, money. that's what's so upsetting to me. >> guest: well, there's absolutely no question that there's a growing gap between the have's and have not's in the world and in the united states as well. and it's not just an issue of wealth, although that's clearly one of the issues. it's also an issue of education, which is going to have profound impacts on us in the future. importantly, the comprehensive tax reform that's outlined in the comeback america restoring fiscal insanity report under
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both frame works anyone who makes something above the poverty level will pay something. those who end up more and make more will pay more. we will have an even more progressive tax system. but the way that we do it is through comprehensive tax reform that will end up making sure that we equate taxes on labor, with taxes on capital. and that will end up helping to make sure that we have a more economically vibrant, more competitive system that will stimulate economic growth and generate more revenues than historical levels. >> host: joann, independent line, welcome. >> caller: thank you. social security is overrated. if you want to be poor, make your plans to live on social security. i have two vehicles for my retirement. one is social security, which i
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paid 7.6% of my income my whole life. and the other is a vanguard account. we paid 10,000 a year on vanguard and we could only afford it for eight years. over 40 years with all the depressions and recessions we got about a million dollars. and we've been using that for 10 years and it's holding firm. we did it ourselves. with difficulty. on the other hand, we put in about $300,000 to the federal government for a pension plan that's not a pension plan. a pension plan is when you put your money in and over time it grows with america. when you allow the government to take over your retirement, you get what you deserve. and that's a threat by the president of the united states saying, well, we may not be able
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to give you your money. it is our money. we've been hoodwinked. >> guest: well, first, i used to be a trustee of social security and medicare from 1990 to 1995. a couple of key points. first, social security is not a pension system. social security is a social insurance system for retirement income, for disability income and for survivors benefits. it was -- it was never intended to be the sole form of retirement income. it was intended to be a foundation. like with a house you have to add to the foundation in order to have a habitable dwelling. unfortunately, today, about 22% of americans rely solely on social security and over 50% of americans rely primarily on social security. furthermore, today, social security is now paying out more than it's taking in and, therefore, it could be affected by this debt ceiling situation. the good news is, social security can be made solvent,
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sustainable, secure, more savings-oriented indefinitely. and how to do that is laid out in this report, restoring fiscal sanity. if you're 55 or over, you're largely going to be unaffected. on the other hand, the younger you are, the better off you are financially but it will be phased in over a number of years. we need to get our savings rate up. that's the real savings vehicles, you know, such as pension plans, such as iras and such as other vehicles and we need to move towards some type of universal supplemental savings arrangement because the system we have now, frankly, is not working. >> host: the founder and ceo of the comeback america initiative, prior to this he served as the u.s. comptroller general. he also was the head of the u.s. government accountability office for almost a decade. that was one of his prepresidential appointment each by different appointments over 15 years of service.
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michael on our republicans line joining the conversation. good morning. >> caller: good morning, thank you for taking my call. i want to thank mr. walker for his years of service for to our country and his fidelity that has so many aspects of his american life. i thank him. the question i wanted to pose to him, though, was, one of the reasons i believe that congress and senate and the president are all having so much difficulty in development consensus on this issue is they cannot just extend the debt ceiling without addressing structurally some of the -- some aspects of the deficit in terms of how are we going to pay for it and start paying it down? and i believe the rating agencies have already sat with both the senate and the house of representatives to inform them that that -- that they could extend the debt ceiling but without addressing the deficit in some meaningful way that they could still risk having the country's credit rating dropped to aa.
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is that not true? >> guest: that is true. first, thank you for your kind comments. there's two issues here. one, raising the debt ceiling limit so the treasury secretary doesn't decide which bills he's going to pay and not going to pay recognizing that the u.s. government spends $4 billion a day every day including weekends more than it's taking in right now. but the other issue is what is going to be done in conjunction with raising the debt ceiling limit to demonstrate to the credit rating agency and the foreign lenders and to demonstrate to the american people that we are living beyond our means. we're going to take steps to put our financials in order. you cannot spend billions of dollars of day more than you take in without having a day of reckoning. so we need to do something meaningful. but we need to recognize the difference between what we do now versus what we're going to have to do later that's phased in over time like social insurance reforms et cetera. and we have to recognize some things aren't going to be able
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to be done until after the elections. you're not going to do comprehensive tax reform, comprehensive social security reform, comprehensive health care reform without going through the relevant committees of jurisdiction and very importantly, engaging the american people with the facts, the truth and the tough choices they deserve to know and they deserve to be heard in determining what the proper path forward is. >> host: question on twitter, would the debt talks not be so contentious had we not started to enter an election year and that gets to the question when is it not an election year or election cycle in do you think it's heightening the back and forth here? >> guest: well, there's no question. you know, you have close margins in the house, close margins in the senate. you know, the republicans, obviously, want to be able to take the senate. they want to keep the house. the democrats would like to keep the senate and take the house. president obama wants to get re-elected and the republicans want a republican elected. and, you know, unfortunately, that is playing into it.
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i think the other thing that's playing into it is these pledges. whether it's pledges on the right with regard to taxes or pledges on the right -- on the left with regard to social security medicare. my mama taught me a long time ago, you never say never. and i think it's fine to be able to make a commitment to one's constituents and it's fine to take a pledge to the united states of america. but to take a pledge to special interest groups on the right or the left is inappropriate. and those should be rescinded and rejected and they're one of the reasons why we have this stalemate and it's one of the reasons why we're headed off a cliff if we don't change course. >> host: june in atlanta, georgia, a democratic caller. good morning. >> caller: good morning. >> host: go ahead. >> caller: i don't have a question. i have a statement. >> host:. caller: -- i'm angry with boehner. what they're doing is they're stalling the economy under this president so they can make sure that they have voters so frustrated that they go and
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re-elected the same bunch that put us this heavy deficit situation where we're in now and using the poor as an excuse to play political games with this president and laying -- cutting budgets to lay off people, to cause unemployment to go up. there's a lot of people unemployed cutting programs and social organizations that we need, fire departments, teachers. it makes unemployment go up and what they're doing is using the american people with this political with dazzle them and we'll lose them if we can tax the wealthy a little bit. if we can get all these jobs here. barack obama came to the meeting table twice, two or three different times. i mean, and boehner and them --
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when he -- gives them whatever they want they say no. the reason why they're saying no they're trying to stall it. >> host: let's get a response from david walker. one thing that she did bring up was raising taxes on the wealthiest americans? >> guest: sure. and i understand that you're upset and, quite frankly, many americans have gone from concern to disgust but understand this, the american people are a lot smarter than people give them credit for. if it looks like that one person or one party is disproportionately responsible and we do have a u.s. debt crisis, believe me, they'll be held accountable at the polls. and it's important that we work together as americans and reach some reasonable compromise here because all of us are going to be affected one way or the other but understand this, you know, our fiscal situation is so challenging that you're not going to solve the problem just by taxing the rich. let me give you an idea. if you look at our total liabilities, our underfunded pensions, retiree health care, our commitments, our contingencies, the unfunded
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promises for medicare, for social security and all these things, as of september 30, 2010, we were in a $61 trillion hole. that's about $200,000 per person. it's over $500,000 per household. if you look at that, you know, you could do the following. you could eliminate all the bush/obama tax cuts. you could pull out of iraq, afghanistan and southwest asia tomorrow. you could end up eliminating all congressional earmarks and you could eliminate all foreign aid which people think is a big number but it's not, that's about 15 to 20% of the problem. the government has grown too big, promised too much, waited too long to restructure. yes, we're going to have to have more revenues as compared to historical levels but we need to go about it in an intelligent way that will make our system fairer, more equitable, more comparative and it will promote job growth and promote innovation. last i think this, on the comeback america initiative,
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preemptive framework, there's an additional $500 billion for critical investments over the next two years in order to help the economic recovery and to deal with unemployment. nonetheless, the net spending reductions over the next 10 years are over 3 trillion. so, yes, we need to do some things to make sure we recover and get unemployment down but if we don't end up putting our finances in order we're going to have much bigger problems in the future. >> we'll leave this now and you can find it online at c-span.org to take you live to the floor of the senate where senators have gaveled in. they'll be meeting -- starting the day with general speeches and then a moment of silence at 3:40 for two officers who were killed at the capitol about 13 years ago. at 4:30 eastern, turning to judicial nominations, they'll vote on those nominations at 5:30 eastern. senate democratic leader harry reid may also introduce a debt reduction plan. the house started their legislative day earlier. members are working on interior
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department spending for the next budget year and also a measure to extend the term of fbi director robert mueller. you can see live house coverage on c-span and live senate coverage right here on c-span2. jacob j. chestnut and detective john m. gibson. we pray in your merciful name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c.,
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july 25, 2011. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable christopher a. coons, a senator from the state of delaware, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president. following leader remarks, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 4:30 this afternoon. at 4:30, the senate will conduct a moment of silence in the memory of officer john j. chestnut and detective john m. gibson, united states capitol police who were killed 13 years ago defending this capitol against a crazed intruder. at 4:30 p.m., the senate will be in executive session considering the nomination of paul engelmayer to be united states district judge for the southern district of new york and ramona
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manglona of northern mariana islands. at approximately 5:30 p.m., there will be a vote. additional roll call votes are possible this evening. mr. president, every day people from across this great nation and around the globe come here to visit the capitol to see the seat of american democracy. every day, those of us who are fortunate to have been elected by our home states to serve in congress also come in to represent this nation and the american people in that democracy, and every day a brave and dedicated group of men and women come here to serve as capitol police officers. whether we are here to work or visit, we're safe from harm. in 1998, two of those dedicated police officers gave their lives protecting this capitol and the people in this capitol. it was special agent john gibson and officer jacob chestnut. 13 years ago yesterday, a man entered the house side of the capitol building with a gun and shot officer chestnut at
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point-blank range. agent gibson warned tourists and staff to take cover and then confronted the gunman. although agent gibson was also shot, he prevented anyone else from being killed. both officers died that day. they served a combined 36 years on the force protecting their fellow men and women. when i first came to washington, i worked the night shift, the swing shift as a capitol police officer. that's why, mr. president, i feel a particular closeness to the capitol police. when i worked, i was never in danger. i was never called upon to put my life on the line. i only hope i would have shown the bravery that agent gibson and officer chestnut displayed that afternoon they were killed. i was a member of the senate when agent gibson and officer chestnut gave their lives to save the lives of others. i know nothing can make up for the loss of a cherished loved
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one. i hope their families and friends take some comfort in knowing those of us who were here that day hold them in our memories and in our hearts. and while i know it's little solace to their families, the tragedy of that day made the capitol a safer place. it led to the construction of the capitol visitors' center which prevents a madman like the one who shot agent gibson and officer chestnut from entering the capitol. we're all grateful for their sacrifice and we're grateful that every day, devoted men and women like them guard these hallowed halls. mr. president, some of those dedicated police officers stood guard saturday and sunday as we worked to reach an agreement to avert a default on our national debt. leaders from both parties were here throughout the weekend. differences still separate our two sides but work toward an agreement continues. this afternoon, i will put on the floor a proposal to -- that i hope will break that impasse. this legislation would put to rest the specter of default.
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it would cut $2.7 trillion from the deficit over the next decade. it would not raise any new revenue or make any cuts to medicare, medicaid or social security. all the cuts included in this package have previously been supported by republicans. the proposal provides everything the house republicans have said they needed for an agreement to avert default and cut the deficit. i hope my colleagues on the other side will still know a good deal when they see it. i hope they will remember how to say yes. the tea party-led house of representatives has held up a resolution of these negotiations for weeks because they didn't want oil companies, corporations to ship jobs overseas or millionaires and billionaires in their corporate jets to pay their fair share. if they now oppose an agreement that meets every one of their demands, it will be because they have put politics first and the good of this nation and economy
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last. i hope they will not continue to insist on the kind of short-term fix they opposed a few short weeks ago, and they know democrats in the senate will not pass and president obama will not sign. congress has already said a -- economists have already said a short-term solution is no solution at all. it will not give the markets the certainty they need. and the credit rating agencies have said a short-term band-aid could have many of the same effects as default, downgrade of u.s. debt, soaring interest rates and an effective tax increase for every american family and business. the financial markets don't trust the right-wing tea party-led house of representatives. they don't believe that they should hold this process hostage, and they don't want them to do it again in six months. we need to make the right decision now, and we need to do it because the economy is on the line. this is what an analyst said about a plan to avert default
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for only a few months. a two-stage plan is a nonstarter because we now know it's amateur hour on capitol hill and we don't wanted to be painted in the corner again. markets need certainty, mr. president. americans need certainty. the world needs certainty. an agreement that provides that certainty is within our grasp. democrats have done more than republicans -- i'm sorry, mr. president. democrats have done more than just meet republicans in the middle. we have met them all the way. now we'll see whether the republicans are against any agreement at all or will they remember how to say yes when the compromise on the table gives them everything they have demanded. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i suggest that further proceedings on the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: as visitors walk through the capitol for the first time, they eventually come across a plaque near one of the entrances on the east front that memorializes an event which took place 13 years ago yesterday. it was 13 years ago that officers jacob joseph chestnut and detective john michael gibson made the ultimate sacrifice to protect all who were working and visiting the
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capitol on that friday afternoon. and every year at this time, we take a moment to step back from our work, put aside our differences and remember these good men whose sacrifice stands as a permanent reminder of the debt we owe them and to all those who continue to put themselves on the front line every day to defend the rest of us from the capitol police officers to local law enforcement officials to those serving overseas. america has always been blessed to have men and women rise up in every generation who are willing to put their nation ahead of their lives. today we honor two in particular who did so in this very building. officer chestnut was a 20-year veteran of the air force, a loving husband and a father of five. detective gibson had served three years on congressman tom delay's protective detail. both had served 18 years on the capitol police force. a friend of detective gibson's
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recalled shortly after the shooting that just a few days before, john told him he had never had to draw his weapon on the job. yet, despite being mortally wounded on the day he died, john did not hesitate to return fire, wounding the intruder. calling upon his instincts and his training, detective gibson's action saved many lives that day. officer chestnut and detective gibson exemplify the best america has to offer, and that's why we honor them here today. my friend, the majority leader, is actually a former capitol police officers himself. he understands more than anyone in this chamber the honor and dedication as well as the risk associated with the job. i know he joins me in honoring jacob joseph chestnut and john michael gibson as well as all capitol police who put their lives on the line every day to protect us and this institution.
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to all members of the capitol police force, thank you for your service and for your professionalism. your duties do not go unnoticed. and on this day that we remember officer chestnut and detective gibson, i would also like to take a moment to remember the families of these good men who have been so deeply affected by this tragedy. our prayers continue to go out to them. may god continue to protect them as their loved ones protected us. now, mr. president, on a different subject, i'd like to say a few words about the ongoing debt ceiling discussions. i think the american people can be excused for being a little confused at this point as to what's going on here in washington and a little bit frustrated, and frankly, i am as well. there's no reason in the world that the american people should have had to wake up this morning unsure of whether washington was going to resolve this problem.
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candidly, as of saturday afternoon, i had no doubt that a solution was at hand. after the president's peformance in his press conference on friday, leaders from both parties in both houses got together and decided we needed to come up with a way forward on our own, and that's just what we did. we came together in good faith and decided to do the right thing. everyone agreed that default wasn't an option, so we put together a responsible proposal that prevented default while reducing washington spending. republicans and, yes, some democrats have been clear for months that tax hikes couldn't be a part of the package. we also have been clear that serious cuts would have to be part of any package. so taking all of this into consideration, the responsible path forward was clear to everyone. a plan that avoided default and required additional savings before any further increase in the debt ceiling. leaders from both houses agreed
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this was the right path forward legislatively. the only thing to do at that point was to present this bipartisan solution to the president. and what was the president's response? well, unfortunately, to demand the largest single debt limit increase in history -- $500 billion more than the previous increase democrats proposed two years ago when they controlled both congress and the white house. and this was the president's justification as he put it on friday -- quote -- "the only bottom line i have is that we have to extend the debt ceiling through the next election." through the next election in 2013. that's a direct quote from the president of the united states. now there's absolutely no economic justification for insisting on a debt limit increase that brings us through the next election. it's not the beginning of a fiscal year. it's not the beginning of a
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calendar year. based on his own words, it's hard to conclude that this request has anything to do with anything other than the president's reelection. look, congress has raised the federal debt limit 62 times. 62 times since 1972. the average length of an increase over that period is just over seven months. but now the president says it has to be nearly two years. why? so he can continue to spend as he pleases. this weekend we offered the president a bipartisan proposal to avoid default so we could have the time we need to put together a serious plan for getting our house in order, and he rejected it out of hand. not for economic reasons, understand. but as he put it -- quote -- "to extend this debt ceiling through
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the next election." end quote. time is running out, mr. president, and with all due respect to the president, we have more important things to worry about than getting through the next election. a bipartisan plan to resolve this crisis was literally within our reach this weekend. the president has to know that this approach is a responsible path forward. we ought to put it back on the table. congressional leaders of both parties have shown they are willing to work in good faith. i would suggest that the president reconsider their offer rather than veto the country into default. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 4:30 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. a senator: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: mr. president, i rise today to share my deepest sympathies for the people of norway who, as my colleagues know, experienced a despicable terrorist act this past friday, july 22. in the senate, i represent the state of minnesota, and it is a state that has the largest number of people of norwegian heritage outside of the country of norway. the influence of norwegian culture can be found throughout our state and the bonds between norway and minnesota continue to be incredibly strong to this day. that is why the shock of friday's violence hit us so close to home. this past weekend, i joined minnesotans and whole world in offering our country's prayers and sympathy to the people of norway. i attended the memorial service tenor we january lutheran member alabaman church -- where
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hundreds gathered to mourn the loss. it is especially heartbreaking that a mass purd like this would take place in a country like norway. the world knows norway as a country that is both peaceful and peace-seeking. after all, norway is home to the nobel peace prize and it has offered safe haven to refugees in the politically persecuted from all around the world. it just doesn't make sense. i'm a apparent. my daughter is the same age as many of the young people that were at that camp and she was there with our family at the memorial service sunday. these kids at this camp were idealistic kids. they were teenagers. they were at that camp because of their interest in their community and in democracy. it is very hard and very painful even to think about such a cold-blooded attack and the massacre of so many innocent children. it is the kind of terrible tragedy that puts all of us to a
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test. it tests our resilience, our trust, and our faith. on saturday morning i spoke with ambassador stroman, norway's ambassador to the united states. i conveyed the deepest sympathies of the people of our state. he assured me that even though this is a very difficult time, that norway is strong, the norwegian people are strong and they will make it through this time of sorrow. and we will stand by them. but we will also stand up against the hate that inspired this action. waoerl starting to get -- we are starting to get a sense of what motivated this madman, and we know now that while most of the people attacked were native norwegians, there were also people from other country, immigrants to norway, new citizens to norway. we all need to remember -- and i say this as a state that was settled originally by norwegians and swedes and danes and german,
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but there were other ways that people came to our state, including slovenians as well as people from poland and rush and the mung people have a major presence in our state as well as people from somalia. what has made our state, we remember, and our country and countries like norway such vibrant places for democracy is that openness. it's that freedom. it's that tolerance. and i reminded my friends tenor we january church on sunday morning -- at the norwegian church of something president clinton said, he said let us let our own children know that we will stand against the forces of fear when there is talk of hatred, let us stand up and talk against it. when there is talk of violence, let us stand up and talk against it. and i call on my colleagues today to stand true to those words, and we will all continue to confront the forces of fear
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and hatred with that same spirit of faith, of tolerance and goodwill. let us continue to stand strong in support of our allies and friends in norway today. our thoughts and prayers are with them. thank you, mr. president, and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. kyl: tha*urbgs mr. president. let me associate -- thank you, mr. president. let me associate myself with the remarks of the senator from minnesota. my wife and i traveled to oslo a few years ago and were deeply touched by the hospitality of the people there and the peacefulness of the country. it is almost too much to bear to think about what they have been gone through as a result of that tragedy. also the majority leader and minority leader talked earlier about the sacrifice of two of our capitol police officers who died in the line of duty protecting people here at the united states capitol and our remembrance of them on this day.
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the chaplain also prayed that we remember their sacrifice. and i think it's important for us to pause in circumstances like this, especially when we're involved in such deeply divide discussion about the issues of the day that confront us. i also thought it interesting that regarding the issues that we are debating that so deeply divide us, a "wall street journal" op-ed today appeared which is one of those rare times when the author puts into much larger perspective, a more cosmic perspective what we're really talking about here and puts it in moral terms, in long-term moral terms rather than just democrats versus republicans and in the fight of the day. so, mr. president, i'll ask unanimous consent at this point to insert after my remarks the op-ed in the "wall street journal" today by arthur brooks, called "the debt ceiling and the pursuit of happiness." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kyl: thank you. arthur brooks is the head of the
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american enterprise institute and has written frequently on the subject of happiness in our country and how we get there. his most recent book is called "the battle: how the fight between free enterprise and big government will shape america's future." his theme in this op-ed was similar to the theme in the book which is we have the system we have because americans have found that it is the system which most leads us to the pursuit of happiness, to the achievement of success and things that are really important in our lives. so he talks about the fight that we're engaged in now about extending the debt ceiling as being a fight against 50-year trends towards statism, which he identifies as a state which would be very disappointing to americans where we would not have the ability to pursue our dreams, the same opportunity that we have today, to be successful if we take risks and to really utilize the full potential of the free-market system.
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he says consider a few facts, and this is the one thing i'll quote from his article. he said "the bureau of economic analysis tells us that total government spending at all levels has risen to 37% of the gross domestic product today, from 27% in 1960. and it's set to reach 50% by 2038. the tax foundation reports that between 1986 and 2008, the share of federal income taxes paid by the top 5% of earners has risen to 59% from 43%. between 1986 and 2009, the percentage of americans who pay zero or negative federal income taxes has increased to 51% from 18.5%. and all this is accompanied by an increase in our national debt to 100% of gross domestic product today, from 42% in 1980. all of these obviously portend a
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trend toward statism, toward the funding of the state through increased taxation by fewer and fewer people, but at greater and greater amounts of money. and in his view, and in mine, will ultimately reduce the kinds of incentives that the free market system provides for americans to be able to earn to, hire others, to assist our economy to grow, and in the process to increase our standard of living. this is one of the reasons why republicans have been so focused on reducing spending as the solution to the problem that we face here in washington today. our problem is not that we don't tax americans enough. our problem is we spend too much here in washington. and that's manifested by the statistic that now we're spending almost 25% of the gross domestic product. we are up to 25, and we're
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headed back up there. yet just three short years ago we were at the level of average in our country, spending about 20% of the gross domestic product. so spending has skyrocketed just in the last three years. if a physician is wanting to treat a patient's condition, the physician diagnoses the patient for what's wrong and then treats that illness. what's wrong with us today is that washington spending is out of control. that's the diagnosis. so what's the treatment? the treatment is not to pile on more taxes on to an already sick economy. the treatment is to reduce the amount of government spending. that's what republicans have urged us to do. the american people, fortunately, i think are in the same place. let me cite three surveys that make the point. one of them is a rasmussen survey reported july 22 of likely voters in the country, and it asks the question of the voters: would you fear that the
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debt deal would raise taxes too much or too little? and would you fear that the debt deal will cut spending too little or will cut spending too much? and the answer was very interesting. among the likely voters, the answer is this: 62% of voters believe that the deal will raise taxes too much. only 26% think we will raise taxes too little. and on the spending side, 56% are afraid that it will cut spending too little. and only 25% think it will cut spending too much. so you can see the american people are with us here. they understand our problem is spending, not taxes. and they're worried that we're not going to reduce spending enough, and that in fact we're going to increase taxes too much. rasmussen had in our survey a week before of voters and the
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question was do you favor including a tax hike in the deal? 55% of voters said "no" and only 34% of likely voters said "yes." so the majority, by far, saying don't include a tax hike in the deal. again, they understand what the problem is. it's not taxes, it's spending. cnn had a poll just a few days before that, and the question among -- and there were several questions in this poll, but the one that struck my eye was the one that asked about raising the debt ceiling, only if we also cut spending, cap it at certain levels, and pass a balanced budget amendment. that's the so-called cut, cap, and balance proposalle proposald the howrmt but was tabled by our democratic clearings here last week. and cnn reports bay 2-1 margin, the american people thought we should cut, cap, and balance. 66% favored, only 33% opposed. so it's interesting to me that
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the american people have internalized the same thing that we -- probably the reason republicans are a expressing this is because we've been listening to our constituents who have been telling us this. our concern is this anot that we should raise taxes. our concern is that we should cut spending. that's what we've been saying here. and i find it interesting that even the president himself in an earlier time shared the same sentiment in august of 2009. then he made a similar point in december of last year when the tax rates that have been existence for a decade were extended for another two years. he said, you don't raise taxes in a recession. he's exactly right. that was at a time, by the way, when growth in the quarter that he said that was at just about 6% of g.d.p. today growth is less than 2% of g.d.p. so our economic situation has gotten worse since then. we're up to.2% unemployment.
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obviously you don't raise taxes in a recession. when you've got a bad economic condition, the worst medicine is to raise taxes. and another point that republicans have been trying to make with regard to the difference between raising taxes or reducing spending is that usually what happens is that when congress sets out to do this a couple of things happen. you get the permanent increases in spending, but you never go to the reductions -- excuse me, the permanent increases in taxes, but you never get the same dollar-for-dollar or $2 or $3 for $1 that you'd been promised in reductions in spending. moreover, when you aim at hitting the millionaires and billionaires, which is usually the excuse for raising taxes, you end up hit ago th hitting af other folks. as has happened with the alternative minimum tax, when we tried to make sure that the
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million yaishes didn't get out of paying taxes buse of reductions and credits that they could take, we put in effect the alternative minimum tax. you know how many that hits today? 25 million americans are hit by the alternative minimum tax. you aim at the millionaires, you hit everybody else. and in fact that's exactly what would happen under the proposal of the president today. he says we need to hit the millionaires and billionaires. well, there are 319,000 american house hoeds that report incomes of over -- households that report incomes of over $1 million a year. but there are 3.6 million other households that would be affected in the same way by the president's tax increase because they are also in the top two income tax brackets. so when you raise the top two brackets, you are not just going to hit the millionaires and millionaires. you're ge also going to hit a lt of other americans who don't hit a million dollars a year.
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one of the primary reasons we have argued that you should not be raising taxes is that it is a job killer. and this is illustrated by many, many things, one of which is the president's own small business administration. one of the taxes that the president has proposed hiking would hit small businesses especially hard, and according to the office of advocacy of the obama small business, administration this tax "could ultimately force many small businesses to close." why would you impose a tax on small businesses that could ultimately force many of them to close? it is the wrong medicine for a sick economy. and so in addition to the fact that you always end up hitting a lot more than the millionaires and billionaires and that the taxes are forever but the savings never quite seem to materialize, the most important point here is that raising taxes is a job killer. two-thirds of all the jobs coming out of a recession are in the small business sector. 54% of all jobs in the country
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are small business-created jobs. so, mr. president, we're going to continue to push for reductions in spending as the way forward here. and i hope that during this next week we'll be able to get together with our house colleagues and republicans and democrats alike will be able to at least rally around one thing that we can all agree on -- spending has to be reduced. and if later on we need to have discussion about tax reform, that's a debate that i think all of us would like to have. our tax code needs reforming. but let's do that not in the context of raising revenues burkes rather, in the context of making it a tax code that would enable us to grow more. at the end of the day, that's what we should all be for because a growing pie means there's all available for everyone, rich and poor alike, the families of america as well as the governments. so i hope that my colleagues will focus on what the american people are telling us through these surveys. let's reduce spending, not increase taxes. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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mr. merkley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the senate will observe a moment of silence in memory of officer jacob j. chestnut and detective john mammogram gibson, united states capitol police. mr. merkley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the
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senator from oregon. mr. merkley: thank you, mr. president. thank you for leading the moment of silence that we just had for officer jacob chestnut and detective john gibson of the united states capitol police. it's important to recognize that each and every day that the citizens of the united states come to the capitol, they are able to visit this chamber, visit the offices of their elected senators and across the building the ousts of the -- ths of the members of the house of representatives. they're able to do so because the capitol police have maintained a form of security that gives citizens access and at the same time protects the functioning of democracy from the very real threats in a changing world. and so it is appropriate that the east front doors were renamed the memorial doors in
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honor of officer jacob chestnut and detective john gibson and that we take this moment to recognize the service of all of the members of the capitol police, who not only protect all those who work here, all those who legislate here, but all the citizens of the country who come to advocate for their concerns. thank you, mr. president. mr. merkley: mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: nt?
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the presiding officer: the
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senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask consent that the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: and, mr. president, i'd add my -- the presiding officer: just a moment. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations which the clerk will report. the clerk: nominee neighs you the judiciary paul engelmayer of new york to be united states district judge, ramona villagomez manglona of the northern mariana islands to be judge for the district court. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be one hour for debate on the nominations equally divided and controlled in the usual form. mr. leahy: mr. president, i understand the vote will be at 5:30; is that correct? the presiding officer: there is debate for one hour. if no time is yielded back, the
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vote will be at 5:36. mr. leahy: mr. president, i will yield back six minutes of my time so the vote can begin at 5:30. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, i note that the senate observed a moment of silence for john gibson and jacob chestnut, who were killed here in the capitol in 1998, july 24, both excellent police officers, one uniformed and one plain clothes in the protective division. my wife and i knew both john gibson and jacob chestnut. both i believe were at their memorial services. i'm glad we had a moavment silence. i would also note, mr. president, we sometimes
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forget we've a lot of very good police officers, both in the uniformed division and plain-clothed division, in this capitol. and they protect us at all times of day or night, no matter what the weather is, no matter what the circumstances. and it is something we should keep in mind. they are -- we can go home a lot of times when the session ends. they're here to make sure everything is still safe. so i think we owe all of them a debt of gratitude. but i also hope that all of them will remain safe, and it is only -- it is a tragedy that officers gibson and chestnut were not able to remain safe, but they died protecting the capitol. now, today the senate was going to finally vote on -- i say "finally vote" on two judicial
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nominations reported unanimously by the judiciary committee in early april. let's put that in perspective, mr. president. way back when snow was still falling in my state, every single republican, every single democrat voted for these two nominees. in past years, certainly under republican presidents, they would have been confirmed probably in a voice vote that same week in a wrap-up session. for some reason, my friends on the other side think it should be different with a democratic president than it was for a republican president, or for that matter all past presidents. despite the support of every democrat and every republican on the judiciary committee, the nominations of paul engelmayer
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to fill a judicial emergency -- not just a normal judicial situation, a judicial emergency vacancy in the southern district of new york, and manglona to fill a ten-year term in a district court for the commonwealth of northern mariana islands have been stalled for three and a half months on the senate's executive calendar. now, these are the kinds of qualified consensus judicial nominations in past years that have been confirmed promptly, certainly since i came here, whether it was under president ford or president carter or president reagan or either of the president bushes. they'd be confirmed promptly rather than being forced to languish for months because of a republican refusal to consent, debate, on the one hand vote on nominations. think how humiliating it for the
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nominee. they have to put their life on hold. for one thing they're probably going to take a huge cut in pay for these judgeships. but they've taken an even quicker one because they can't really practice law while this is pending. they can't get involved and take on their clients and get involved in court cases when what they would assume any day they might finally be confirmed, instead of dragging on for months. and at a time when judicial vacancies remain above 90 throughout this country, these needlesneedless delays perpetuae judicial vacancy crisis that chief justice roberts, a republican, wrote of last december and that the president and the attorney general, the bar association and chief judges of both parties around the country have urged us to join together to end. can you imagine the example we set to anybody who has
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litigation and they say, well, we can't hear your litigation, no matter how important it is. er you have to wait year after year after year -- you have to wait year after year after year because we don't have a judge. even though we have a spot for one, we can't get them confirmed. now, the senate can do a better job working to ensure the ability of our federal courts to provide justice to americans around the country. recently chief judge marono wrote to the senate to urge the filling of judicial vacancies in that district. both kathleen williams and robert scolo were reported unanimously, every single democrat, every single republican supporting them, and both are being delayed for no reason whatsoever, certainly no good reason.
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chief judge march reno writes, the shortage is becoming acute. for this rrntion i ask your assistance in expediting both confirmations. the judiciary committee has found the nominees qualified, and the people of south florida eagerly await their service. now, these nominees have the support of their home state senators. senator nelson a democrat, senator rubio, a republican. the two senators have set aside partisan actions. the senate judiciary committee set aside partisan action by voting for them unanimously. why should they be held up because of partisan actions on this floor? they are among the 27 judicial nominees reviewed by the judiciary committee and reported favorably to the senate for final action, all of which can be voted on today, but they're being stalled.
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so i'm glad of that 27 we are finally being allowed to consider two who will be confidencconfirmedtoday, but thg since early april. this is not how the senate has acted in years past with other presidents judicial nominees, certainly we didn't with a republican president, george bush, and it's not accurate to pretend-- as some have -- ans it is a pretense -- that real progress is being made in these circumstances. when you have these two votes vs and still have 25 sitting on the calendar that can be disposed of within an hour and they're blocked week after week after week, that's not making progress. we make progress in the committee. but if they're going to block them on the floor, it is not progress. vacancies are being kept high, consensus nominees are being
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delayed. but it is the american people, republicans, democrats, republicans alike, who are suffering when the federal courts are being made to suffer. this is another area in which we must come together for the american people. let's do something for the american people, for a change. not just for a political party. there's no reason why senators can't join together and finally bring down the excessive number of vacancies that persist on federal courts throughout the nation for far too long. it's not a republican or democratic issue. it's -- it's an american issue. between now and the august recess, the senate should consider all of the judicial nominees ready for a final vote, including those desperately needed in southern florida, backed by senator nelson and senator rubio. now, i expect the two nominations we're going to consider today to be confirmed overwhelmingly, but when they
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are, we're going to have to ask ourselves, why were they stalled so long like the two dozen other consensus nominees being stalled for no good reason. now, i thank senator grassley for his cooperation in working with me to make progress in the committee concerning judicial nominations and regular order and we have made progress in the committee. but it goes for naught if we can't get them confirmed on the floor. our work in the committee has not been matched in the senate, where agreements to debate and vote on judicial nominations are too few and too far between. these are only the sixth and seventh nominations the senate has considered in the last two months, and this was with 27 that have been voted on in a bipartisan fashion waiting to be voting on, we only get number six and number seven in two months? there are 25 judicial nominations fully considered by
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the judicial -- the judiciary committee and sent to the senate. of them, 20 were unanimously reported, all republicans, all democrats, not a single negative vote. at the very least, we ought to take up those 20. the two nominations we consider today were reported in april. there are 13 reported by the committee way back in may or earlier, in fact, 11 of those were unanimous. when i urged the senate to take up and vote on the many consensus judicial nominations on the calendar, these are people who've been voted through unanimously, they're ready for action before the memorial day recess. republican senators would not agree to a single one. so different than the way we treated republican presidents. and i don't want to suggest that somehow there's a different
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standard if it's republican president george bush but democratic president barack obama, but somebody who may be more cynical than i might think there is a difference. with almost a score of judicial nominees available to the senate for final action, only one was considered before the july 4 recess. that's not the way to make real progress. you know, we have a long way to go as we do as well as we did during president bush's first term. we confirmed 205 of his judicial nominations. 205 in 48 months. 100 of those 205 were done in 17 months. that's the 17 months the democrats were in charge and i was chairman. in the other 31 months, republicans were able to do another 105. so again, we demonstrated we're ready to work faster with him
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than even his republican senators were but certainly a lot faster than we have. president obama's now on his 30th month in office and we've only been allowed to consider and confirm 91 of his federal circuit and district court nominees. compare that to the 100 i did in 17 months for president bush. so despite the needs of the federal judiciary, as evidenced by chief judge moreno's recent letter, i would ask unanimous consent that be made part of the record at the conclusion of my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: i would only note that the delays in confirmation of president obama's consensus nominees, nominees agreed to by both republicans and democrats and blocked then by republicans, that's to the detriment of all americans. most people when they go into court don't go in and say, well,
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i'm a republican or i'm a democrat. they're just an american seeking justice. and the court's doors are closed, they are closed because the united states senate won't allow the confirmation of the judges who could open those doors. that, mr. president, is wrong. it's a stain on the judiciary but also it's a stain on this body. and i would ask my full statement be made part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: and i suggest the absence of a quorum but i ask unanimous consent that the time be equally charged to both parties. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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U.S. Senate
CSPAN July 25, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT

News/Business.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 52, America 37, Joplin 21, Washington 20, Fema 14, Norway 13, Gibson 11, United States 10, U.s. 10, Mississippi 8, Mr. Leahy 7, Jacob Chestnut 5, David Walker 5, Mr. O'brian 5, Mr. Merkley 5, John Gibson 5, South Carolina 5, The Senate 4, Obama 4, Mccaskill 4
Network CSPAN
Duration 05:00:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 100 (651 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 704
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color


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